Tiruppur units eye $2-billion opportunity from PPE business

Chennai: South India’s cotton knitwear capital, Tiruppur, is struggling to step up production as demand for personal protection equipment such as masks and bodysuits has thrown up a $2-billion worth business opportunity this fiscal year. About 200 units in the Tamil Nadu town currently make personal protective equipment, mostly to serve the needs within India. Industry body Tiruppur Exporters Association has been pushing them to improvise on products to meet global standards.

“As of now, we are only supplying within India but once we get the technology and the export market opens up, there is a vast potential to scale up,” exporters association general secretary TR Vijaya Kumar told ET. He estimates this to be a ₹10,000-15,000 crore revenue opportunity this year alone.

Meanwhile, the magnitude of the coronavirus outbreak in the US and Europe and its impact on the economies have left the exporters here worried, as those are their biggest markets. “We are yet to receive payment for many of our previous shipments,” Kumar said. The garment cluster manufactures textiles worth Rs 60,000 crore a year for exports and domestic markets. The knitwear industry here has provided jobs to about 8 lakh people, half of whom are migrants.

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